Bottleneck: little jobs and emotional friction

Thanks to JG. A particularly troublesome breed of little job are things left undone that hold up the work of other people – a decision that needs your input (or for you to decide), a design that needs your approval, feedback to your team from a key meeting, or a training you need to hold before your team starts a…

Friction (4): mental overhead and nameless dread

Mental Overhead Another type of friction we experience is from the ongoing mental overhead of having too many balls in the air. Unfinished projects, unanswered emails, half-read books, unresolved decisions – all take a sliver of attention and emotional energy. This constant mental overhead acts a drag on our attention. reducing our ability to concentrate and – especially when we’re…

Friction (3): when friction helps

Friction in the wrong places slows us down and drains our energy, but it has its uses: Friction in processes or emotional friction it’s often a sign that we have work to do Friction is our friend when we need to be slowed down – it makes us pause, think, look before we leap and check that things are right.…

Friction (2): emotional friction

This is a different kind of friction: the uncertainty, delay and discomfort that comes from lack of trust or understanding. Like bureaucratic or procedural friction, emotional friction slows us down and makes things more difficult than they need to be. It takes many guises: The extra time we spend second-guessing and explaining ourselves because we’re worried someone will take what…

Friction (1): costs to convenience

Friction is anything that makes it harder to for us to get something done – buy a product or use a service, do our jobs, learn something, enjoy ourselves. There will always be friction – but poor design and execution and a lack of clarity about what things are for make it worse than it needs to be. For example:…

Organisational friction

is caused by things in your working day that you live with or work around but that sap your time, energy or attention and make it harder for you to do good work. It’s caused by the work equivalents of leaving unwashed plates piled up in the sink at home. You save a bit of time and energy heaping them…

Freedom to the nose (2): stealing at work

How free are you at work? How free are the people you’re responsible for? “As free as possible,” is a good answer, but there are some clear limits: no-one is allowed to hurt people physically (freedom to the nose) or to steal the property of the organisation (or other people). Intangible theft – stealing time, for example – is harder…

Overcoming barriers

With this in mind… How does what you offer reduce the barriers to people consuming something important to them? In other words, how do you make it easier (or even possible) for them to get the job done? How do you (dramatically) lower the price? How do you make it available in places where it hasn’t been before? How do…

On mopping the floor

Sweep up. Mop the floor. Spend five minutes – five minutes! – a day putting things back in their places or working out where their places should be or throwing things out. It isn’t just that the reduction in friction will pay off many times over – it’s that the act of tidying will change you – slowly – into…

A sharper razor

A fresh, sharp razor is faster and easier to use, is less less painful, and gives a better and longer-lasting finish. As a result you need to shave less but you feel like shaving more, a virtuous cycle resulting from reduced friction and better, more satisfying results. What tools to you use to do your work? Is it time to…